My Mother's credit card company wants to sue her for a past bill in 07. Can they take her pension and SSI? - AgingCare.com

My Mother's credit card company wants to sue her for a past bill in 07. Can they take her pension and SSI?

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She's in a nursing home.

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Hi igloo! Just remember that social security is protected by feds, but not all states protect ALL types of pensions. So if you think a judgment or garnishment might be in the wings, social security pension should always be in separate bank account or paid directly to nursing home. A pension or social security or VA benefit can be "attached" aka "garnished" for income taxes and in some cases child support. After you respond the ways suggested above, you might check for a free legal consult in your area (lots of cities have programs where lawyers give answers 1-2 times per month on all kinds of questions). You are probably hearing from the bottom feeders because a statute of limitations is about to run out.
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GardenArtist gives excellent info as always!

Chris, their debt collectors plain & simple and bottom feeder debt collectors.
I'd bet the letter from the law firm is from a debt collection group & the "law firm" is the legal front for them. CC debt is unsecured debt and the creditor is pretty well out of luck in getting it repaid unless they go & get a judgement done (which has required court time & servicing to the debtor) & actually have an asset to place the judgement against (like a home IF your state even allows for that). Elderly on a NH with only SS & pension are probably judgement proof. If they are on Medicaid, they are judgement proof.

The debt collector is NOT the ORIGINAL CREDITOR is it? The OC will be the actual bank group who issued the card...like Chase, Citi,Synchrony, Capital One, etc. It is kinda important that you know who the OC is and who the current holder of the paper on the debt is. Only the OC can do certain things legally like issue a 1099-C.

What you have is a bottom feeder who buys old debt for pennies and then tries to get folks to agree to pay them the debt. Moms debt sold within a bigger bundle of old debt to this "law firm". A debt that is 7 years old well I'd guess it has been already sold before as well.

I'd do what Garden suggested. Mailing all this certified mail is very important in the process. I'd put in a line that any & all contact regarding the debt must be sent in writing....so if you start getting harassing phone calls, you can tell them to shove off as they were notified that any contact must be in writing.

As far as anyone "taking" income, they cannot do that. SS is protected income by federal law. It cannot be attached. Only a supercreditor can do this and the supercreditors are the IRS and your state government and they are limited as to amount.

These guys are bottom feeding scum, they set out to bluff and intimidate & you have to push back from the get go to quell this.
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Chris, the law firm might be trying to manipulate your mother into agreeing to pay, especially if the statute of limitations has run. If so, they're trying to trick and/or scare her into paying.

If you want advice, this is what I'd do. Write back, sending the letter certified, return receipt requested, and advise that you're acting as your mother's representative and cannot even consider addressing their request until they provide you with:

(a) Copy of the last payment check (both sides)

(b) Copy of all statements sent by the original creditor from the alleged time the last payment was received through the current time

(c) Copy of any judgment, if one was obtained (probably not, but that lets them know you're not going to be steamrolled), and if you want to be really obnoxious, ask for printouts of all charges incurred as well as all payments made. I doubt if you'll get it, but you'll let them know you won't be steamrolled.

And don't even make any mention that your mother's in a nursing home. If they find out, they'll harass her there. These people are like vultures.

Don't make any commitments at all; just go fishing as they're apparently doing.


Pam, there are collections law firms - they sometimes call themselves "creditors' rights firms". I worked for one when I was temping. It was a sweat shop, hands down, nothing but a sweat shop. Unhappy people including lawyers, grinding out dozens of letters daily to harass people into paying. I doubt if I ever saw one smiling face the week I was there.

Only thing that was good was it was close to Christmas and some clients had sent some great food, including some really, really good Kosher dills.

I also interviewed with one collections firm, accepting the interview offer because the firm described itself as a "business law firm." This was well before the Internet, so there was no way of checking them out other than going to a library and looking in the Martindale Hubbell listings. But generally that included the better quality firms.

An indication of how nasty they can be... one of the larger collection law firms (which also handles foreclosures) hired the SIL of a friend. Their benefit policy was draconian - no health insurance coverage until he'd been there a year. A week before his year was up, his employment was terminated. I'm guessing they do this annually - hire then terminate to avoid paying benefits. Real scumbags.
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You got a collections type letter from some law firm?? This sounds mighty fishey to me... A collections agency I can see, as the companys sell thier past due stuff sometimes. But a law firm?? I would check this out.
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In response to GardenArtist thank for the helpful comments. The law firm is claiming they are not collecting a debt, but they want to setup payment not give much information about the debt.
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Sorry again - forgot to address your questions. Whether or not a credit card company can attach funds depends generally on whether or not it's able to sue and get a judgment entered.

That in turn depends on whether or not the statute of limitations on credit card debt has run; in other words, after a certain time, suits to collect credit card debt can't be filed - the credit card company has run out of time. That's why I asked all the questions about payments.

If it were to get a judgment, it might be able to garnish her bank account and attach her pension funds, but I don't know about SSI.

The best thing to do right now is get as much information on the alleged outstanding debt, especially when the last payment was made; read the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act on responding, and follow it to respond within 30 days and deny the debt if it's already paid, or if the statute of limitations has run, or if it's not your mother's debt.
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Sorry; I goofed. The ...uniweb site is merely a list of annotations to the statute rather than the complete statute.

I did find that the statute can be interrupted by making a payment.

protectingconsumerrights/debt-collection-problems/statute-of-limitations-by-state/states/nebraska/
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Some questions first...

1. When was the last bill received? When was the last payment made? This is important!

2. Were statements/bills still sent after the last payment?

3. Were any settlements or payment arrangements made, and if so, were they met by your mother?

4. Did the credit card company send her a letter notifying of its intent to collect the debt, and stating that she had 30 days in which to refute its validity? If so, did she respond?

This 30 days notice is mandatory under the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

5. Has your mother actually been diagnosed with dementia, and if so when?

6. I quickly checked; the statute of limitations for collection of credit card debt in NE is 4 years, as of 2 years ago. However, what needs to be determined is if the statute runs from the date of the last payment, and when that last payment was. In addition, I didn't find that site to be as illuminating as I expected it to be, so I'd still do some research on the S/L. The statute might have been changed; it would really take a bit more research than I have time for now.

And according to the link, this is the applicable Nebraska statute:

http://uniweb.legislature.ne.gov/laws/statutes.php?statute=25-206

However, it's not like any statute I've ever read, so I'm a bit hesitant to try to interpret it. It's more like a listing of applicable case law as opposed to the kinds of statutes I'm using to seeing.

But also see the first note on this site:

http://protectingconsumerrights. c o m /debt-collection-problems/statute-of-limitations-by-state/states/nebraska/

(URLs must be truncated if they're dot coms or will be deleted by the Admins since they're commercial sites.)

After you collect the data on the last payment made, you might want to see an attorney to verify whether the credit card company can still legally attempt to collect the alleged debt.

One of our regular posters here is a Nebraska legal expert; perhaps she'll stop by and offer her opinion.
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I think it depends on your state's laws. You need to get an attorney.
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